The Mirage House is a single level cavernous residence embedded into the hillside covered by an infinity rooftop pool, designed by Kois Associated Architects, located on the Greek island of Tinos. Designed to integrate into the steep sloped rocky terrain that makes up the island’s south-west coastline, the house was conceived as “an invisible oasis hidden from the unsuspected eyes” where residents can enjoy panoramic views overlooking the Aegean Sea. The rimless pool creates a visual effect of water extending to the horizon and merging the dwelling with the seascape. Additional materials are taken directly from the local landscape, so as to match the existing context.
The site offers protection from the prevailing winds and a natural plateau which from the beginning was identified as the optimal location for the residence as it would minimize the impact to the landscape due to excavation. It is a single-level structure and has a surface of 2,131 square feet (198 square meters). The location allows benefiting from wonderful and panoramic views of the landscape and seascape. Our approach to the program was Doric. Only the essential features and programmatic elements to sustain a comfortable stay were incorporated in the design.
Our goal was to integrate the building into the landscape like it was part of it.The living space is covered by a rimless pool that produces a visual effect of the water extending to the horizon, vanishing and merging with the seascape. From a distance especially if viewed from the path of approach, on a higher ground, the only visible feature of the house is the sea like surface of the pool. The water during the day reflects the surroundings and during the night, the star filled night sky. The mirroring pool of water carefully positioned on the landscape evokes memories of the optical phenomenon of the mirage from which the project was named.
The most of the visible construction materials were extracted from the vicinity and were used to make the house disappear into the scenery. Local techniques were also borrowed like the characteristic dry wall construction found in abundance in the island. This technique was implemented with minor modifications; on the side embankment walls in each side of the pool volume. The local materials have a low impact on the environment and they are very efficient as insulating materials. The rear walls are made of retained earth and have layers of vegetation that regulates the temperature and cools the environment through evaporation. The pool acting as roof provides thermal insulation and protection from solar radiation and heat transmittance.
We wanted to make a house fused with its surroundings, an invisible oasis hidden from the unsuspected eyes. The house is acts almost like an observation post as it clings to the rocks and oversees the dramatic cascading landscape. A landscape left almost intact due to the implemented design strategy and the careful selection of materials.
The team decided to bury part of the building in the landscape and then create a large open-air living room in front. These will all be sheltered beneath the rooftop pool, which will act as a huge mirror to help the building camouflage with its surroundings. Dry stone walls will surround sections of the interior and also frame the building’s entrance. These are designed to reference the traditional walls that can be spotted all over the scenic island landscape.
Photos: Courtesy of Kois Associated Architects
Villa Kalos is nestled on the beautiful Greek island of Ithaca, which once lay in ruin and was completely abandoned but has been returned to its former glory as a guest vacation house. The home was discovered by two South African photographers in the surrounding countryside of Lahos. The couple’s mission was to fulfill their dream of creating a home for the design conscious traveler looking to spend their holidays overlooking the peaceful Greek countryside, with the azure waters of the Agean only a few minutes away.With the help of local builders and craftsmen, the beautiful stone building was successfully resurrected and turned into a luxurious, sublimely understated, yet perfectly adorned, boutique villa.
A stylish and secluded villa escaping technology, Villa Kalos sleeps 8 guests, with rates starting at $471 per night, from here.
The property occupies 6,000 square meters, encompassing terraced gardens surrounding the home and almond trees and olive groves dotting the nearby countryside. There is a salt water pool that overlooks the stunning island vistas. The interiors showcase perfection for a Greek island villa – cement floors, stone walls, polished concrete benches, limed timber beams, fine muslin drapes on the windows and layers of linen.
Photos: Robert Koene
Villa 191 is a private single family residence designed by ISV Architects, located in Voula, Athens, Greece up on the hill, in a site with extremely steep terrain. The access from the street is at the site’s highest point, which provides with a limitless view to the sea. The pitch of the site, as well as the view, have both been the main factors to determine the design choices made. Because of its steepness/gradient, the house is barely visible from the street.
The access point is at the third and highest level of the building, from where the user descends to the middle level with all the living spaces. The linear organization of the plan, with the rooms laid out successively and perpendicularly to the court, has allowed for unobstructed views from all spaces.
At the highest level, except from the main entrance, one finds the bedrooms of the family which all have access to roof terrace. The middle level includes the dining room, the living room and the kitchen. They linearly spread out either into the great balcony to the front or to an outdoor space with the element of water at the side. At the lower level the guest rooms and play rooms can also function as a separate apartment with the panoramic view always remaining unobstructed.
The exterior of the building express the linearity of the functional organization and the view-oriented design of the spaces. Therefore, the shape is characterized by a fold with horizontal elements which start from the pool at the living room level and unravel until they meet the bedrooms floor, at the top. The prominent volumes allow for the house and the steep terrain to blend in harmony.
The materials chosen enhance the noble appearance of these volumes. The retaining walls are made of exposed concrete and they juxtapose other building elements which are white plaster finish. Inside, wood is used as the main floor surface and white finish on all walls.
Photos: Anargyros Mougiakos, Giannis Kontos
Eagle’s Nest is a striking Mediterranean summer house that was completed in 2010, designed by Sinas Architects, situated on Serifos Island, Greece. Serifos perhaps, is one of the last Cycladic islands that has only recently started to develop. Some call it “wild and inhospitable.” For the few faithful who visit it consistently, this “roughness” is the key element that made them fall in love with it.
On the south side of Serifos, near the lovely beach of Kalo Ampeli is an area known as “Chomatovouni”. Here steep slopes, cliffs and rock formations dominate the scenery. Within this seemingly inhospitable landscape only the eagle could build its nest.
The house has a total size of 2,152 square feet (200 square meters) and is spread over three levels. The main house, with three dormitories, is located at the lower level. The house is accessed through the backside, through a staircase that seems to cut through the building, to lead visitors to the main terrace, a balcony with unobstructed views of the sea, the bay of Kalo Ampeli and the picturesque island Garbis. Another terrace has been created that adjoins with the kitchen on the west side of the building.
The main guest house has been placed on the top of the main house. It includes its own bathroom, kitchen and fireplace. This way the guest has complete privacy and access to the view.
Finally, a small cell like building, the “keli”, also a guesthouse, is positioned completely independently at the highest level of the complex.
The peculiar shape of the house serves two needs: on the one hand it creates multiple terraces protected from the sun and the winds of the Aegean and the on the other it breaks the volume of the building into individual smaller and irregular ones. The basic building material is stone that came entirely from the excavations. Stone in combination with the color of mortar achieves a color corresponding to the landscape. Thus the building is fully and naturally integrated in its surroundings.
Outside, the house combines all the structural elements of the island such as stone, ground, the reeds, wood with its natural colors, creating a traditional atmosphere. Internally cool white was selected as the dominant color and a modern aesthetic. The floors, all of which are smooth industrial, invite you to walk barefoot and forget the need for shoes.
One week of isolation in this house will certainly function as the lotus to the crew of Ulysses and make you forget all your ties with the city and need to return to civilization!
Photos: Nikos Stefanis
H3 House was designed by 314 Architecture Studio to give a sense of connection to the water element that surrounds it, inspired by the love of the owner for yachting, situated in Athens, Greece. The detached property covers a total area of 1,000 square meters, set in a plot of land 7,000 square meters. The relationship to water is in evidence with artificial pools around the exterior of the house, creating a sense of cool tranquility. The water for the smaller artificial pools and the main large swimming pool is supplied by a borehole, and the water supply for irrigating the garden areas comes from a rainwater drainage and collection system. The bio-climatic design of the house allows the sun to supply heat to the property in winter, and to mitigate its impact in summer when hot air is vented to the outside. The use of geothermal energy provides energy saving cooling and heating systems via fan coil systems. The solar spiral system installed in roof areas operates in combination with solar panels installed to the rear side of the plot, and are used to heat the pool water. Photovoltaic panels for electricity generation are installed at the same point.
The house uses eco-friendly materials, and the interior, including all the furniture, was designed to meet the owner’s specific requirements. The design aims to create a luxury ergonomic environment with clean lines and a minimalistic aesthetic. An abstract sculpture by Yiannis Aspra in the surrounding grounds of the house is a striking feature. The architecture, building materials, as well as the energy management and conservation technologies conform to the highly dynamic requirements of a modern residential home, but at the same time are environmentally friendly.
Photos: Courtesy of 314 Architecture Studio
Kalavrita Project was designed by Bllend Design Office in Peloponnisos Dytiki Ellada ke Ionio, Greece. The home overlooks a beautiful mountain range, spread out over three levels with each section being about 50 square meters. The lower and middle shell comprised of local stone, while the top floor is a log cabin. The customer defined the desired outcome as keeping the mountain context, without emitting stereotypical rustic remembrances of existing mountain residential typologies. It involved a major renovation, of a common mountain house. The aim was to create a space where everything would be manufactured on site, using basic materials metal, pine wood and mineral aggregates, human labor and expertise.
The main idea behind that was to let the objects acquire use and sentimental value when the owners would start feeling them as useful and pleasant. The three levels of the home encompass en-suite bedrooms, guest rooms, bathrooms and autonomy in daytime activities. The desire was clear to accommodate the family’s extroversial way of living allowing for co-habitation and mobility for daytime and nighttime zones. The need was to allow for guest families and their children to make creative use of space different hours of day and seasons.
Emitting the architectural feeling of black burnt metal and volcanic stone, construction and levels of nightime and basic traffic patterns were defined by black metal. Mineral aggregates defined the floorplans, wet areas and main elevations while pine wood defined the storage areas. The color palette was reduced to minimum contrast and low saturation in order to let the materials and textures define the context of the project redefining prevailing mountain houses of rustic country feeling.
The challenge of the project was to follow sustainability and bioclimatic values in house remodeling, to utilize maximum natural daylight, create a design lighting scheme using only led lighting sources and emitting the feeling of light candelas using very low light color temperatures. This had a serious impact since the customer desired to leave the existing shell and openings intact.
Stone House in Anavissos was designed by Whitebox Architects in Athens, Greece. The plot for the home is located in Lakka, looking over the gulf of Anavissos. The concept was the creation of a residence for a family of four – the parents with two children – and the possibility of having a guest room with relative autonomy -separate bathroom. The basic demands were: the view of the sea from all four bedrooms, an office space on the ground floor for the professional needs of the couple but mostly of the mother who wanted to work and supervise the ground floor where the children would play. Another request for the design was the economy in energy consumption of the house and the possibility of enjoying the outdoor spaces throughout the year, for dining, swimming, games.
Undergrowth, rocky terrain with a gentle slope to the bay located southeast of the plot and strong northerly and easterly winds –local thermal effects, are the main features of the inhospitable natural environment.
The building is L-shaped thus protects the space of the main courtyard from the strong local winds while connecting the indoors spaces to the external functions of the residence. The ground floor is divided into two levels following the smooth slope to the sea. On the northwest side, while the indoor facilities are disrupted, the structural elements of the building are released from the main volume and continue their way until they form a protected from the north wind -with stone walls-, and the sun- with fixed wooden blinds – space.
This area is the “secret” access of the family directly to the kitchen, the summer dining and rest area with shade and coolness. The secret garden of the children with a sculpture hidden behind the stone columns that barely leave the sunrays penetrate and reveal their secret. Pergolas on the south side of the house protect the inner space from the direct sunlight through the corner windows that are facingthe sea.Inside the building there is an atrium with a mobile roof that slopes to the North to allow the northern light to enter and contributes to the hot air relief during the summer. It also contributes to the visual and audio communication of the residents on both floors.
The semi-open space between the two children’s bedrooms that is in contact with the atriumgives children the opportunity to see inside the house from above while they are on their verandah. The northern side of the building creates a front to the north as there are only a few small openings, except one above the main entrance that even allows the view through the house to the buildings that lie behind. The wooden “sachnisi”is a historical reference to the greek refugees who migrated to the area from Asia Minor in 1922 and worked in the local salt marshes.
The exterior walls of the building are made of 70cm bearing stone masonry, visible on the ground floor and plastered with colored plaster on the 1rst floor. The concrete used for slabs and columns remained visible inside and out. Great attention was given to the connection of the rough materials like stoneand concrete with the other materials, wood, metal, glass, painted plaster.
Photos: George Fakaros
The Residence in Kifissia is designed by Tense Architecture Network, situated in Kifissia, Greece. The residence’s plot is small and an adjacent building almost blocks the southern sun. The main part of the field should remain free and become the residence itself: an austere prism, centrally supported, hovers above the liberated ground. At first, an area was defined: a cubic shell of plants creates a limit for the house. In order to reside, ones withdraws in. Three metallic columns support a net of inox ropes where plants have already started to climb in order to generate a volume equally important to the house’s prisms.
When the plants are grown the green screen will be penetrated only by the black central column of the concrete shelter. The basalt-watery surface on which it is based reflects the light in the interior. Exposed concrete is dark tinted where a greater depth, a sense of anchoring was necessary. Artificial light is cautiously managed in order to protect the night and the intimacy that dim light offers.
The shell remains intact towards the main facade. The public image of the residence will eventually recede behind the plants and the house will claim the whole field. The vigorously detached prism lets the sun enter and functions as a shelter: living space lies beneath. When the sliding panels retreat, the merging with the garden is complete.
The space that the elevated prism creates is the main compositional gesture. The manner that this gesture is performed is crucial: it is the manner through which the hovering prism is supported by the central column. A calm tension is realized, a simple yet clear correlation of forces. The synergy between structural and architectural design gives a residence where the shell is not more important than its field. Those are juxtaposed: one to one.
Photos: Filippo Poli
The contemporary Residence in Kifisia has been designed for a family of four by N. Koukourakis & Associates in the suburb of Kifisia, in Athens, Greece. The home is comprised of 3,767 square feet (350 square meters) of living space, constructed on a small, almost level square plot. The concept of the designed was focused on establishing additional open air spaces to create a pleasant habitat on the small plot. The small stone mass in the entryway separates the public spaces from the private spaces to ensure privacy.
The open ground floor plan encompasses the foyer, sitting room, rest room, dining room and kitchen, which through large interior and exterior openings utilize all natural light to the largest extent, while at the same time they appear to complement the outdoor / open spaces since they are directly connected. The double height opening in the living room visually connects the ‘public’ and ‘private’ spaces of the residence. On the first floor, the living room, office and children’s bedrooms all have balconies without railings and transparent glass for maximization of the view. On the second floor the master bedroom has infinite views and a vast veranda. The basement comprises of additional secondary ‘functional rooms’ as well as the guest room.
The materials used for the exterior facade constitute the components used in the internal spaces. Coffee-grey coating and wood in a monochromatic dialogue define the overall structure of this building. The use of wood in the external spaces, the ground floor and the balconies doubles and visually connects the spaces of the residence.
The furniture follows the simple and minimal theme of the building’s spaces, enhancing the clean design lines and light colors of the structure as well as the primary function of light and the comfort of the spaces.
The shell of the house is constructed using a facade insulation system; the aluminum casings have thermal-break system and high spec double energy glass panels. Heating is provided through the floor while there is also a central air conditioning system. It is constructed in accordance with the specifications of a smart home where all operations including lighting, the movement of shutters, the alarm system, video surveillance cameras, multi-room sound system and air conditioning are all controlled by a centralized system.